Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trees Listed As Property

And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, .... And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field,... were made sure Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. Genesis 23:16-18

Westerners familiar with long-established systems of ownership according to which a purchaser of land usually gets everything on it and under it have puzzled over a queer set of details in the records about an ancient sale. Primarily because he wanted a cave for use as a family tomb, Abraham bought the field of Ephron. He got the field and the cave, but that didn’t end the matter; “all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure (Gen. 23:17).”

This oddly precise stipulation has been clarified by study of the Hittite code recovered from the ancient capital city of Bogazköy (in modern Turkey). According to the code, trees were so valuable in the ancient near East that it was a standard Hittite practice to enumerate each one included in a real estate transaction.

With the great significance of green property recognized, it becomes clear why both Ephron the Hittite and Abraham took care that all the trees involved in their transaction were “made sure,” or individually counted and listed.

(Garrison, Webb., Strange Facts About the Bible, Testament Books, New York, 1968, pg 124)

1 comment:

  1. Clear parallels here for us...

    Like the tree, those who are upright, like a tree, with strong roots built from faith and have consistently taken in enough nutrients, sunlight, and watering to allow life (green) to thrive will also be "made sure" (2 Peter 1:10) - also belonging to Abraham to inherit much.